Question: What does unoccupied Palestinian land look like? Answer: Like Gaza.
Israel ceded that territory, acquired in the course of a war it was provoked into fighting. Palestinian terrorists dug in, and turned Gaza into a launch pad for attacks against Israeli civilians.
“Imagine,” wrote former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Wall Street Journal, “a siren that gives you 30 seconds to find shelter before a Qassam rocket falls from the sky and explodes, spraying its lethal shrapnel in all directions. Now imagine this happens day after day, month after month, year after year.”
For a quarter of a million Israeli citizens living in the southern part of the country, this is what daily life is like. Singer Annie Lennox and Studio 54 swinger Bianca Jagger ought to try out this “lifestyle” for fun.
Israel prevailed upon the terrorists, Hamas in this case, to desist from firing rockets into its population centers. No go. Three years and 6,300 rockets later, the Israeli army has finally responded with a counterattack aimed at destroying Hamas compounds and capabilities.
But not before foregoing the element of surprise: Israel forewarned the Palestinians of the impending operation. Leaflets were dropped and text messages sent to Gaza’s cell phones.
To no avail. A developed country, Israel mandates bunkers and bomb shelters in which its civilians can hunker. An undeveloped territory, “Palestine” lacks these “luxuries.” It’s not that the billions in aid dollars funneled to the Palestinians don’t go toward tunneling underground; they do. It’s that Palestinian tunnels are designed exclusively for smuggling weapons, not shielding human beings.
If anything, Palestinians are expected to shield their jihadis, who embed themselves deep within the civilian population. But not to worry, promises Fathi Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Death for Palestinians has become an industry at which they all excel, he declared on Terror TV. The ordinary and the elderly; women, men and children – all Palestinians wish to shield their warriors against “the Zionist bombing machine.” The source of Palestinian strength, hollered Hamad, lies in the fact that, “We desire death as Israelis desire life.”
The liberal West disagrees with Hamad’s rendition of Palestinian core values. To liberals – a designation that encompasses most contemporary “conservatives” – aggression signals oppression. The Palestinian plight is the fault of reckless leaders, Palestinian and Israeli.
The liberal West honestly believes that bad leaders are what shackle backward peoples.
Be it in Africa or Arabia, liberals labor under the romantic delusion that the effects of millennia of development-resistant, fatalistic, superstitious and cruel cultures can be cured by an infusion of foreign aid, and by the removal of the Mugabes and Haniyas of the respective regions.
Fathi Hamad comes closer to the truth. While I’m not at all convinced, as Hamad asserts, that Palestinian civilians have volunteered to be human shields to Hamas, the Arab Street is certainly every bit as radical as its leaders. If not more so.
As election results across the Arab world have repeatedly shown, and as Arab-American scholar Fouad Ajami has observed, “It is a peculiarity of the Arab political order, that many of the rulers and the dynasties are more moderate than the populace.”
The reticence of Arab leaders to be more vocal about Israel’s actions contrasted with images of keffiyeh-clad Muslims festooning streets across the Middle East, and the West (including Fort Lauderdale), punching the air in fury and calling for Jews to “go back to the ovens.”
The Egyptians have no intention whatsoever of allowing panicked Palestinians into their country. President Hosni Mubarak refuses to swell the already swollen ranks of the radical Muslim Brotherhood in his midst. As DEBKAfile reported, “A crowd of Palestinians trying to flee the Gaza Strip were [sic] stopped by heavy machine gun fire from Egyptian forces.” Mubarak periodically conducts mini-massacres against the Brotherhood – an organization that sired Hamas – with no particular outcry from the West.
In 1970, King Hussein (ibn Talal) of Jordan massacred tens of thousands of Palestinians for fomenting a coup against the monarchy. To avert the anarchy Hussein associated with the Palestinians and their simmering resentments, the king then expelled the PLO and many thousands of Palestinian troublemakers to Lebanon.
Between you and me, I think Queen Noor, like her late husband, Hussein, is not terribly keen on welcoming Palestinian refugees to Jordan. Nowadays, the queen is a fierce advocate for the Palestinians, just so long as they bug Israel, and not Jordan. But I wonder whether the American liberal named Lisa Halaby (Noor’s maiden name) thought the king’s actions excessive, back when Hussein was exterminating Palestinians?
While on the subject of “disproportionate” force: What are the Israel Defense Forces to do to stop the unprovoked, appalling attacks on Israelis? Fire one Qassam for each Qassam that lands on Sderot or Ashdod?
Face it – short of mobilizing an army of stone throwers to toss stones at their jihadi opponents, any action Israel takes to deter or extinguish its enemies will be termed disproportionate.